We were very excited! All those we had developed and sent out for missions (plus one family about to leave) were going to be home at the same time. We knew it might never happen again. One family was back from Peru. Another young lady was just in from the Middle East. And one family, having served previously in South Africa, was headed there soon under our care. We just knew that we needed to get them (the adults) in front of the church in order to share with us so that we might rejoice with and pray for them, but also to be inspired by them.
I had the privilege of sitting up front with these wonderful believers to guide the discussion. What follows are the questions I designed for this special occasion. They can easily be adapted for your context, whether interviewing just one missionary or multiple people. Some of these questions could even be used personally for an email or text to those your church supports, just to let them know you care about them and want to get a little more insight for ongoing prayer.
Questions for the Panel
- For those in the crowd who might be guests or are new to the church, briefly remind us of three things:
- Where are you serving?
- What is your main ministry there?
- When were you (or will you be) sent out from this church?
- I have often heard about the “culture shock” sometimes experienced by those who travel to another country for ministry. Did you experience that [or have you at least really missed home sometimes]? If so, what was it like and how did you overcome it?
- When you think about what you heard about missions in Bible teaching before being on the field, is there anything you recall that was especially helpful to lead you to where you are today?
- Is there anything that has surprised you while serving on the field?
- Do you have a favorite story from your experience in missions that demonstrates the faithfulness of God and/or the power of the gospel?
- What is the hardest or most difficult part of your life on the mission field?
- What do you do for fun in your location?
- (To wives) What are some of the joys and challenges of your role as wives of the men who are often busy with ministry and even away sometimes preaching and teaching?
- (To parents) What are some challenges and advantages of parenting children on the mission field?
- (To singles) What are some challenges and advantages of being a single person on the mission field?
- What is a key way your time with this church prepared you for missions work?
- What types of persecution have you and/or other believers in your location experienced?
- What do you appreciate that the members of this church do for you while you are on the field, and also when you are home?
- How would you counsel someone who might be contemplating serving as a missionary or missionary helper?
- Is there a missionary biography that has inspired you that you would recommend?
- When is your departure date for your next mission?
- What is happening right now in the country where you serve that might make ministry more challenging in the days ahead?
“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2)